Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton has released a statement regarding the Bourke Street Coronial Inquest findings.
After a six week inquest, Coroner Jacqui Hawkins findings revealed that very little efforts very made in negotiating with Bourke Street killer James Gargasoulas.
Ms Hawkins found “nothing more than two phone calls and bizarre text messages” when investigating Victoria Police’s efforts to negotiate during the deadly rapage.
In his statement, Mr Patton acknowledged the “shortcomings” in Victoria Police’s operational response, but is of the ” firm belief the police officers responding to this incident acted in good faith based on the information available to them”.
“Based on interviews conducted internally and at the Inquest, I am aware some police officers felt they would not be supported if they actively tried to stop the offender’s vehicle. Regardless of whether the vehicle could have been stopped before coming into the city, the fact is some of our members felt uncertain if they would be supported in taking more forceful and decisive action,” he said.
Mr Patton noted that since the incident occurred, a number of new response teams and policies had been introduced to the force to deal with similar incidences.
“This includes SOG’s Quick Response Force (September 2017), the CIRT security teams (December 2017) and a new hostile vehicle attack policy (October 2019),” he said.
Other damning evidence in the inquest found there were chances for Victoria Police to arrest Gargasoulas hours before the tragic incident.
More evidence mentions “active supervision” should have been provided by senior police, to “coalface” officers attempting the arrest and how the bail justice who let Mr Gargasoulas walk free six days earlier, claimed police falsified evidence to shift responsibility for the decision to grant him bail.
The then 26-year-old is serving life in prison with a non-parole period of 46 years, for killing three-month-old Zachary Bryant; Matthew Si, 33; Thalia Hakin, 10; Jess Mudie, 23; Bhavita Patel, 33; and Yosuke Kanno, 25.
Dozen more were injured in the attack when Gargasoulas ploughed through pedestrians in Melbourne’s CBD in a stolen Holden Commodore.